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What do we eat? New food map will tell us

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Food mapDo your kids love chocolate milk? It may have more calories on average than you thought. Same goes for soda.

Until now, the only way to find out what people in the United States eat and how many calories they consume has been government data, which can lag behind the rapidly expanding and changing food marketplace.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are trying to change that by creating a gargantuan map of what foods Americans are buying and eating.

Part of the uniqueness of the database is its ability to sort one product into what it really is — thousands of brands and variations.

Take the chocolate milk.

The government long has long classified chocolate milk with 2 percent fat as one item. But the UNC researchers, using scanner data from grocery stores and other commercial data, found thousands of different brands and variations of 2 percent chocolate milk and averaged them out. The results show that chocolate milk has about 11 calories per cup more than the government thought.

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